Using the Internet has become an invaluable tool for teachers and educators across the world. With the few clicks of a button, thousands of resources on lesson planning, educational experiments, and fun activities are right at your fingertips. Since the Internet has become such an integral part of our education system, choosing an Internet Service Provider who can meet your demands has become an important part of being a teacher. Below are some helpful tips to finding Internet for teachers and educators that is affordable, reliable and fast enough for the demands of their workload.
Teacher Discounts for Internet Service
Companies and most of the public recognize that teachers in the United States spend a lot of their personal money on necessary classroom supplies. In many counties and states Parent & Teacher Associations have started Supply Support programs with each parent donating funds to the classroom for the supplies of that year. This helps to purchase items like notepads, glue, pencils, wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels, craft supplies, and other like items. While this is extremely helpful for teachers for everyday items, the other necessary resources teachers need are not always fulfilled. The job expenditures of teaching coupled with the humble salary of teachers has inspired many large retailers and service companies to offer special discounts and programs just for teachers. From large companies like Office Depot, Target, and Party City, to clothing stores and local boutiques are taking part in teacher discount programs.
Internet Service Providers have also stepped up to show their support for teachers across the nation by offering some great affordable internet solutions for teachers. AT&T, Cox, Verizon, Spectrum, DISH, Century Link, and Xfinity are all offering special plans and discounts to teachers in participating areas. Comcast XFINITY has started an Internet Essentials program, offering student and teacher discounts on desktops, laptops, Internet service, and even Microsoft Office and Norton Security Suite software. Spectrum has been offering an Internet Assist program offering certain discounts to students, teachers, and low-income households. Programs like this can add up to significant savings throughout the year, a perk that teachers have definitely earned and deserve. Regardless of which ISP you decide to go with, make sure you ask one of their representatives about their teacher discount program and see if you qualify.
Connection Speeds and Data Caps
Two other important areas to check in to before choosing which Internet will fuel your classroom or home office are connection speeds and data caps. Whether you are streaming instructional YouTube videos or downloading large files of lesson plans – having a connection fast enough to meet your demands is a must. Alternately, in an effort to save additional money each month, don’t sign up for a plan with a connection speed that is more than you need. For average everyday use and streaming on one or two devices at a time, a plan with anywhere from 6-15Mgps should be adequate.
Data caps are often overlooked when choosing an Internet plan, but this too is an area you should weigh before signing any contract. While some ISPs offer an unlimited Internet plan with no data caps, these plans are usually very costly. Honestly, it’s rare that you should need one. Look for a plan that has a generous data supply, but no need for it to be unlimited. Also, make sure you understand their overage fees and price changes should you ever go over the data incidentally one month.
Once you choose your Internet plan you should review your usage and your billing statement at least quarterly. This ensures that you aren’t going over and paying hefty fees. It also lets you see if you are ending up with a lot of excess data that you can do without. If you find yourself showing a lot of unused data at the end of each billing period, downgrade your plan even further to save yourself more money each month.
Don’t Let it Lapse
Like any discount with any major corporation, there is usually a termination date where some sort of introductory rate or discount expires; this is when you will start to slowly see your bill climb again. In order to avoid this scenario, make a note for yourself to check in with your ISP once a year. This is to ensure your teacher’s discount is currently in effect and that it's not about to expire. Most ISPs allow you to easily renew your teacher discount over the phone but may require some documentation or proof of your current teaching status.
Being a teacher is hard work, requiring constant vigilance, patience, and seemingly endless work hours. Where possible, we think teachers should utilize discount programs and aid that is available to them. Before settling on an Internet provider in your area, check into whether they offer a teacher discount and if you qualify.